The Self Building Building team was invited by Matthijs Bouw (One Architecture) to the New Institute where we got to present our project next famous archtiect Ben van Berkel to a panel of economists and entrepreneurs. We also gave a similar lecture at Stichting B.a.d. in Rotterdam.
I also started teaching an interaction design graduate course at the Technical University Amsterdam on day a week. My goal is to inspire a way of thinking that transcends the average students horizon when it comes to the design profession and self guided learning. Next to participation frameworks, social search and findability patterns I also briefly discussed Christopher Alexander’s "A pattern language" in class to stimulate more lateral thinking about design patterns. Christopher Alexander’s is available for free on a rather outdated and badly designed website.
Surprisingly Jyri is still the only hands on reference framework about Social Objects. Quite a dilemma, I am inclined to to push the envelope a bit with these students by introducing Ian Bogost’s Object Lessons, though a philosophical discourse around objects might be a bit to fluffy and abstract for my students.
I am wrapping up two weeks with a lot of meetings that are setting the strategy for the related projects, with all people in place there will hopefully be a lot more making than meeting during the last months of the year.
We decided to to team up with all dutch event organisers to plan an edition for the coming IXD 14. Really looking forward to this collaboration.
We have installed the new signage system designed by Tony with the lovely typface Amsterdam Energie by Jasper van den Berg.
Our new neighbours at the Open Coop, Fiber held a Coded Matters event with interesting talks and great performances. It was also a great opportunity to spend some time with Ben who visited Amsterdam for a short visit.
Self Building Building
Our team had a strategic meeting with the research director from the Waag Frank Krezin discussing how our project would fit into their agenda for the next two years.
We had branding and product development strategy meetings that are synthesised into requirements which we are using to validate the design iterations.
We had a great This Happened Amsterdam edition at the Brakke Grond. I really enjoyed the talk by Lieven about his Hydrogen Airship because of his intense delivery. Here is a nice write-up of the evening by Iskander.
Tuesday I spent a full day of validating the designs and finishing the detailed design of the interactive elements for the Skinvision Archive that will be launched after the next sprint.
Every autumn a quick visit to Cinekid is a must if you are a designer and living in Amsterdam. My favourite this year was Weather Worlds by Theo and Emily.
On Thursday I was invited by Michelle Kasprzak to join an expert meeting at the V2 lab in their innovation research series. Michelle and Boris Debackere moderated a discussion around creativity and innovation. The other participants were Brendan Cormier, Sacha van Tongeren, Malkit Shoshan, Diane Ragsdale and Kitty Leering.
This group interview will be published by V2 and I am interested to see how they boil down our inspired conversation. The mix of people greatly contributed to the debate which we informally continued at the spectacular dinner afterwards.
In the evening we visited the Stelarc lecture at the Nieuwe Institute. Stelarc is an eccentric artist who explores body modifications, suspensions and exoskeletons since the 80’s.
The talk was not for the faint at heart, this artist has no inhibitions to break ethical or medical conventions with his work. I was glad to hear that Stelarc is not a fan of the singularity movement, for him it is a rather simplistic model of the future that has nothing to do with his eccentric artistic practice. He is no futurist, he merely explores speculative possibilities and describes his work as an seductive act rather than preaching utopian or dystopian scenarios.
On Friday I took my time in Rotterdam to explore the Biodesign exhibition at the New Institute and visited the Food festival at the Musempark where DUS and Arne had their contributions to future food scenarios on display.
Both weeks were split between writing grant applications for the Self Building Building project and reviewing design iterations for the Skinvision application.
There is not much innovation happening when it comes to design software released by Adobe. One is way better off looking at indy developers for great tools. I recently started to use Sketch and already prefer the application over Adobe Fireworks, finally a tool that enables me to deliver great design assets for iOS development and to iterate design routes quickly.
In preparation of the 7th This happened edition I personally met with both of my speakers Jon Stam and Paul Veugen to brief them about the format of the evening and really enjoyed talking about their work methods and past projects. Both are really inspiring designers with extremely different attitudes towards their craft.
The photo above is made during the even more inspiring presentation of the Cardboard Challenge results of my son’s school, more photo’s on my flickr. The original idea is coming from Caine’s Arcade that most of you probably have seen already.
The last two weeks have been divided between long term projects and as always a lot of stuff that is related to the Open Coöp.
Twitter & TV
Foremost I am extremely happy with the feedback we got from the Mediafonds about the NewsMemeMachine proposal. Our application is receiving a grant for the development of our prototype concept together with the NPO. It is extremely rewarding that our contribution to the Mediafonds@Sandberg Masterclass has transformed from a vapourware design fiction prototype into a fully funded self initiated project that will allow us to experiment with broadcast media institutions.
I want to stress that we have found an excellent project partner because our design will be implemented directly on the new NPO online platform. The timing of our proposal could not be any better since the NPO decided to team up with Open State Foundation to release previously unavailable datasets for a Hackathon and I am curious what kind of metadata will actually be available to us as well.
My work for the Skinvision app has been focused on a couple of design reparations for the current sprint and developing the design framework for the relaunch of their webpage and a new product strategy that will be focused more on tracking lesions on a reoccurring basis.
I have written a summary of the skills and services we offer as a collaborative business for the Open Coöp website. I am glad to be part of such an extremely diverse group of creatives even though making things work can be difficult at times. Amran, who is a member of the Amsterdam Hackspace, pointed me to a rather interesting article by Jo Freeman. "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" addresses a lot of the challenges we face and lays out the ground rules for democratic trial and error decision making and structuring. Last weeks general members meeting clearly showed that we doing well financially but have to streamline the distribution of information among members.
Self Building Building
The planning and writing for another Self Building Building proposal is well on track, the project group decided to push the platform development further with the initial project partners. Also the announcement of the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (dutch) and especially their proposal for a “living lab” setting in the city convinced us to make another effort to realize a pilot building.
Media Controller Experiments
I have been looking at Ableton to create a Drum Machine with a Novation SL Mk II but honestly I find that rather difficult to incorporate with the current Traktor S2 setup. In my opinion Native Instruments develop amazingly forgiving creative tools that even though the learning curve is pretty steep keep me motivated to keep experimenting, Ableton has to step up their game big time.
In a nutshell week 89 was about retrospection, play and several things that are linked to This happened.
I update my portfolio with the NewsMemeMachine project, which is a design fiction prototype that explores scenario’s for leveraging the conversation on social media channels by close integration with correlating broadcast media events.
On Tuesday I had another meeting with Paul Jorna. We were discussing financial models for incremental financing of phased self-building.
We finalised the line-up for the next This happened Amsterdam which will be made public soon. Unfortunately I had to miss the last edition of the Utrecht chapter, you can read a short report about it on Iskander’s blog.
The opening of the TonTon Club was one of the highlights of the weekend. If you like games go and pay them a visit if you are in Amsterdam.
Ronald Rietveld, one of the alumni speakers of This happened Utrecht back in 2010, revealed his collaboration with Studio Frank Havermans Secret Operations 610 for the Airbase Soesterberg during a festival last week. Like one would expect, Rietveld Landscape continues to create uncompromising conceptual interventions.
They also contributed a critical piece to the Istanbul Biennale called “Mom, Am I Barbarian?”, their work “Intensive Care” could not displayed in public because of the protests on Taksim Square but can be viewed as a scale model.
For my DJ side project I experimented with the Remix Deck controller for Touch OSC which is an amazing addition to the Traktor S2 controller even without tactile feedback of an hardware controller. This setup is very easy to play for beginners and has plenty of room for more virtuous use. I am slowly getting a hang of beatmatching but must admit that it is really hard to produce a coherent and harmonious mix. Judge for yourself on Soundcloud if you fancy some tech and deep house.
I have written and submitted a grant proposal together with Dagan Cohen and the Dutch public broadcasting association for funding of our NewsMemeMachine concept from the Sandberg@Mediafonds Masterclass. Write-up and review of our concept in dutch here, the videos of the final presentations (dutch) are available as well.
Unfortunately I have also spent a fair amount of time trying to get my highlights out of the kindle iPad app for a file that I uploaded myself. Rather frustrating that this seems to be impossible.
Lotte, Paul and me also started to invite speakers for our next edition of This happened Amsterdam in October.
After the holidays it was nice to get back to work at the Open Coop. The place is always buzzing with activity and I really enjoy working there. I updated our website and started to write weeknotes together with all members. Save to say this combined effort does our diverse backgrounds and activities justice. The next big thing for me is to make a blueprint for our long term vision and how to communicate that internally.
The last two weeks were divided between consulting and writing a request for funding for the NewsMemeMachine concept together with the NPO.
I have now officially joined a small team working on the Skinvision app for a period of 3 months. The stakeholders and investors were convinced to continue working with me after the reports of the latest release showed that my redesign of the camera interface coincided with an increase of in app purchases. I will be working on further improving the product during the next 3 months while focusing on conversion and customer retention next to the product experience.
One of the most intense things I did for a while was taking part in a CrossFit workout together with Ed who was visiting Amsterdam for vacation instead of work. The post workout muscle pain was lasting for 3 days but I am going to give it another try soon.
I have spent almost 4 weeks away from my desk and work. We have been to France in the Normandy and the Auvergne this Summer where the daily productivity of people is incredibly low. Being away from my computer was not only rewarding but is something I have no problem to adapt to if I am honest. The slow pace was very comforting and all we worried about was what will be on today’s menu. Other than that we did some reading, gardening and vegetable harvesting in my friends permaculture. Especially weeding the garden in the morning and eating veggies that you picked yourself made me feel pretty content with my daily achievements. During the last week I built 3 bows with my son for shooting arrows. It was interesting to see how he realised that the bow building and results improved even with the second iteration already.
I have spent both weeks collaborating closely with product owners and a developers team in Bulgaria in order to design, test and implement a new camera interaction and design for the Skinvision iOS application.
Everything came together really well after two rounds of testing with a walkthrough prototype that was used to interview people that never used the app before.
Before submission to the App Store we are going to do another round of testing with Testflight that will validate our assumptions about the real time feedback and language agnostic coach marks that are meant to increase picture quality.